Hats off to fashion designer and award-winning colorist Alexander Julian for his eco-makeover of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduation gowns, set to debut March 17 in time for commencement. As a UNC alumnus, Chapel Hill native, and father whose son is graduating from the college in May, Julian had a vested interest in redesigning the gowns, not only to make them true “Carolina blue” but also green. The updated frocks, developed in cooperation with Oak Hall Cap & Gown, are sewn in Virginia using 100 percent recycled polyester from a local mill. Roughly 23 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles go into the making of a single gown, a factoid that is printed directly on the garment rather than a separate label.
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
It took numerous attempts, but the master colorist believes he has achieved the perfect shade of blue to represent his alma mater. Julian also added a bit of pizazz to the graduation garb: two white panels in front, and white piping along the yoke.
The updated frocks are sewn in Virginia using 100 percent recycled polyester from a local mill.
Additionally, Julian tailored the notoriously unflattering robe by removing one of the pleats for a better fit. The designer is leaving his style-savvy mark all over the campus—he’s also responsible for adding argyle to the Tar Heels’ basketball uniform. We hope other universities follow suit by replacing these mandatory, one-time-wear garments with responsibly made green gowns.